President Trump Refuses Negotiations For His Wall
By: Lucia Elmi
Since December 22, 2018, the U.S. government has been on its continued streak as having been in the longest government shutdown in the country’s history. President Trump declared a partial government shutdown after failed talks with Congress to support funding for a barrier along the southern border, of which he claims will keep out illegal immigrants and other unwanted persons from crossing into the United States.
This marks the second government shutdown to have taken place during Trump’s presidency.
Considering how long the duration of the government shutdown has been thus far, legitimate concerns have been expressed as to how much of a negative impact it could have on the U.S. economy and other federal government affairs.
As a result of the shutdown, several government institutions have been halted and with that, so have incoming paychecks for government workers. Although certain institutions like the U.S. Postal Service and law firm agencies continue to function as usual, others like NASA and Homeland Security have been at the forefront of the distressing effects of the shutdown.
So far, the most widely publicized backlash against Trump’s shutdown has been from TSA (Transportation Security Authority) workers around the country. Workers have taken to the streets to protest and have begun to call out of work sick as they search for other, more reliable sources of income someplace else.
“We have a very stressful job as it is and for people to be worried about how they’re going to pay their babysitter and pay their mortgage and their bills, it’s just not something that is needed in our position,” said Ben Struck, an aviation safety inspector to PIX11 news.
With less staff, travel time has increased in popular airports such as LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International. Safety is the top priority, and TSA officers are needed to screen all passengers before their flights.
For as long as the shutdown lasts, federal government workers in non-funded agencies such as the TSA will continue to work without pay. Workers that are considered non-essential are on furlough until further notice.
President Trump has threatened to declare a “national emergency” if his demands for border funding are not met. However, Trump has decided for the meantime to only use that declaration as a last resort.
Nearly three weeks in, and neither side has been able to reach an agreement on the issue.
On January 8th, President Trump appealed to the American people on television regarding the debate. Shortly after, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on behalf of the Democrats.
Finding a viable source of income has been the hardest issue to tackle. The Trump administration has suggested using untouched natural disaster and emergency fund money as a possible source of budget for the construction of the wall.
According to CNN, “Congress appropriated $14 billion in supplemental funds to repair infrastructure in areas of the country hardest hit by disasters. In anticipation of a national emergency declaration, the official tells CNN that the Pentagon was asked to provide lists of unspent funds including those earmarked for civil works projects that are part of disaster recovery in Puerto Rico, Texas, California, Florida, and elsewhere.”
People such as Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is opposed to using these disaster funds to undertake such a project.
Cornyn stated, “So the President is now talking to his lawyers about whether he would have the authority to issue a national emergency and reprogram money that’s been allocated for other purposes, but I will tell you that I will oppose any reprogramming of Harvey disaster funds. We worked very hard to make sure that the victims of Hurricane Harvey — their concerns are addressed and Texas is able to rebuild. And I think we are all together on that.”
Those opposed to wall funding also believe that the current southern border does not pose a serious threat to the country like the President says it does. Other, more realistic policies can improve border security.
The shutdown is expected to last throughout January until Trump and Congress can reach an agreement and end the deadlock.